The one-sentence summary

Ignore important-sounding but resonance-free offerings and concentrate on bridging the gap between what you deliver and what consumers want.


  • Brand success is the degree to which the brand meets or exceeds what consumers want, need and expect in the category, both emotionally and rationally.
  • Brands that do that have equity. Brands that don’t have problems.
  • The technique the book explains is to evaluate Brands (what already exists in the present) against the Ideal (what consumers wish existed in the future).
  • This generates a consumer-centric view of the category in which the brand competes, letting it understand how consumers view, compare, and choose among category options.
  • As such this is a predictive solution rather than a historical one. It can easily be integrated into current research efforts, and can demonstrate Brand Equity ROI, quantifying the impact of marketing initiatives in advance of spend.
  • It is effectively a loyalty-based customer listening system that claims to outperform traditional research methods.
  • Today’s purchasing decisions are 70% emotional, so there’s a big difference between what consumers say they want and what they end up buying.
  • As such, the old model of product, place, price and promotion has been replaced with customer engagement, expectations and loyalty.


  • Research tells you little until you examine the category drivers, their vital components, their order of importance, what expectations people have of them, and how your brand stacks up against all of those. Even worse, they are changing all the time and need to be measured regularly.
  • Then you can plot your brand against category expectations and quantify the gap between what people want and what your brand is actually delivering. For example, your brand rating could go up, but category expectations might go up even further, thus increasing the gap. Only looking at the former figure will provide false optimism for the brand owner, and lead to falling sales.
  • Consumer expectations are up 28% on average so keeping pace with what they really want is crucial, and yet 85% of new products fail.
  • People knowing a brand (awareness), or even loving it (admiration), is not the same as using it (purchase). Measuring the wrong part is misleading.
  • Plenty of companies use ‘important-sounding but resonance-free’ offerings as a basis for brand success.


  • The layout is pretty traditional, but there is flowing prose within. Beware if graphs scare you, because there are lots of them.